International pressure was building on Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on Wednesday to provide a full account of the health of his daughter, Princess Latifa, and his whereabouts.
Latifa recorded a series of videos, released on Tuesday by the BBC, in which she recounts how she spent several years locked in a villa without access to sunlight and fresh air under constant police surveillance.
She is believed to be being held on the orders of her father, who is the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, as well as the absolute ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday that people “will want to see that she is alive and well” after the cell phone videos made by the Princess aired on the BBC. The princess made videos in which she recounted how she was abducted from a yacht by UAE security forces in a failed escape attempt in 2018, and claimed she was trapped in a building guarded with bars on the windows.
However, Raab added that Britain would not simply be able to “sanction” the United Arab Emirates, which is buying a huge amount of British weapons and is seen as a key intelligence partner in the region. Dubai is also a popular holiday destination for British travelers.
To complicate matters further, Al Maktoum is a personal friend of the Queen. They share a passionate interest in horses. He regularly joins her in the Royal Box of the prestigious British racing festival Royal Ascot.
Although the Queen has distanced herself from the Sheikh after a damning judgment from a British court last year. The custody and divorce proceedings were brought by his ex-wife, Princess Haya, 45, a half-sister to King Abdullah of Jordan, who fled Dubai with two of their children saying she feared for her. life. She now lives in a $ 100million mansion in West London with her two youngest children.
The court ruled that Al Maktoum, who had published several verses of flowery poetry denouncing Haya as treacherous after she allegedly had an affair with her bodyguard, had organized the kidnappings not only of Latifa, but also of another. daughter, Princess Shamsa, allegedly detained under similar circumstances to her sister. She was allegedly abducted from the British city of Cambridge in 2000, and there have been persistent allegations that the Foreign Office blocked the investigation into Shamsa’s kidnapping to preserve political relations with the Mercurial Sheikh, who would have at least 30 children. .
In a 2018 video, Latifa said Shamsa was “confined to a room and constantly supervised by nurses and a psychiatrist” while being given medication she believed was designed “to control her mind.”
Latifa and Shamsa are both children of the Sheikh’s first official wife, Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum al-Maktoum. She lives on an estate in Longcross, Surrey, in absolute privacy and has never been seen in public, The temperature reports.
Their oldest son, alleged heir Rashid, died in 2015 from causes that were never made public, but it was widely rumored that he had a drug problem.
In the new series of videos, shown on Tuesday by the BBC, Latifa, 35, has a terrifying recount of how her escape from the United Arab Emirates in 2018 was thwarted when the yacht she was fleeing on was taken on board by commandos who lied there. ‘beat and drugged before forcibly repatriating her. .
Latifa said: “I am a hostage and this villa has been converted into a prison.”
She said she was shooting the video in the villa’s bathroom, the only room she could lock herself in, adding, “All windows are locked, I can’t open any windows.”
She said she had been threatened with being shot unless she cooperated with her father’s official statements.
The United Nations has also said it will push for answers.
Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said The Irish Times: “We will certainly discuss these new developments with the UAE.”
Colville said other parts of the UN human rights system “may also be involved once they analyze new material or receive specific allegations.”
United Nations human rights envoy and former Irish President Mary Robinson told the BBC she was “horribly cheated” when she met Princess Latifa ten months after the kidnapping.
She was pictured sitting next to Latifa and told BBC Radio 4 that the princess was a ‘troubled young woman’ who regretted planning the escape.
In the new videos, Latifa condemned Robinson saying, “She said I was a troubled young woman and had a serious health problem and was getting help,” she said. declared. “This implies that I have psychiatric problems. She knew I was fine. She lied and it was all staged.
Robinson has now called for international action to establish Latifa’s condition and where it is located. “I continue to be very worried about Latifa,” she said. “I think this should be investigated.”
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